Ultra-fast micro-bolometer

Mar 7, 2024 | 0 comments

Texense revolutionise tyre temperature measurement with a new ultra-fast micro-bolometer.

With new regulations coming into play, managing tyre temperatures has never been more important. Currently, both infrared sensors and thermal imagers have their shortcomings. Teams came to us looking for a solution. They asked us if it would be possible to develop a product that had all the advantages of a thermal camera with the data spot accuracy of traditional IR sensors. The perfect solution would be a product which could give you close to the same level of accuracy as the larger thermal imagers but in a small package so that you can run it in all conditions, (in practice, qualifying and the race).

We took this information back to our development team and got to work! During our development process, we noticed some of our competitors were releasing FLIR based systems. We had already tested these extensively and had serious issues with reliability, accuracy and sampling speed. We decided the only way forward would be to design a completely bespoke system from the ground up, the Texense MiB micro-bolometer is born!

During development, we identified a need for a higher pixel matrix and sampling frequency than products that are currently on the market. The FLIR based systems are limited to 9Hz which means a lot of information is missed, particularly at high speeds. Our new MiB sensor is capable of 100Hz sampling frequency, this is a huge advancement in technology and vital in today’s environment. The increased sampling rate allows real dynamic events such as launches and under braking to be viewed in real-time. That’s data that engineers have previously never been able to capture, so hugely exciting and a big step forward in understanding tyre behaviour.

We also developed a very high pixel matrix for the camera, consisting of 4 rows of 70 pixels. Each pixel has a data spot accuracy which is comparable to the most accurate infrared sensors. Currently, traditional IR sensors sample from up to 16 spots on the tyre, with an accuracy of +/- 1% FS. Our new MiB sensor samples from 280 spots on the tyre with an equivalent accuracy of +/- 1% FS.

To address the issue of reliability and thermal drift we developed a shutter-less system. Current IR cameras suffer from a phenomenon called pixel drift which skews the accuracy of their measurement. This has traditionally been addressed using a shutter which provides a blank reference screen allowing the camera to re-calibrate itself. Using a mechanical shutter has obvious reliability, size and life span problems and was something that needed to be addressed. We worked tirelessly on developing our software and calibration process which ultimately led to us being able to produce a shutter-less design which eliminates thermal drift. Leading to a miniature system which is simple to install and hugely reliable…vital for the motorsport environment.

Our new MiB tyre temperature sensor is a product that has revolutionised tyre temperature measurement. Giving engineers more data at a higher sampling rate, with World-leading accuracy and reliability.

Senior Renvale management team with RBSL and Rheinmetall at the DSEI show
Anthony Moss, Renvale COO proudly displaying the signed contract from RBSL and Rheinmetall

Our phenomenal new Texense thermal camera only re-enforces us as market leaders in tyre temperature measurement, further increasing our range of IR sensors for both open and closed-wheel applications.

Further developments have now enabled Texense to produce the new MIB-PTP-E. It’s a micro-bolometer-based thermal camera system designed for many applications including industrial & military vehicles, aircraft, but also for motorsport. Thanks to its compact & lightweight housing, the MIB-PTP-E can be easily installed for temperature measurement. It is a fast, reliable and accurate sensor, with a 100Hz sampling rate, 1%FS accuracy at 200°C and an 80×60 pixel camera resolution. Additionally, this brand-new micro-bolometer is equipped with up to 8 GB of integrated memory for embedded data recording. The MIB-PTP-E is a PTP v2 compatible device, with fast data output done via Ethernet.

British Army's new Boxer MIV being displayed at RBSL's facility
Renvale's £10 million pound contract being finalised for wiring harness manufacture on the Boxer MIV